“[N]ever assemble an all-white creative team on a production again, regardless of the subject matter of the show…”
——A provision in the “New Deal for Broadway,” an agreement signed by Broadway “power-brokers” pledging to strengthen the industry’s diversity practices as theaters reopen following the nearly 18-month pandemic shutdown.
“A New Deal for Broadway,” was developed by Black Theater United, one of several organizations established last year, the Times story tells us, “as an outgrowth of the anger Black theater artists felt over the police killings” of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. “Black Theater United’s founding members include some of the most celebrated performers working in the American theater, including Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Wendell Pierce, Norm Lewis and LaChanze.”
The pledge was signed by the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters as well as the Broadway League, the trade organization representing producers, and Actors’ Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers.
- The Times piece says that the agreement “commits” signatories to such actions as establishing diversity trainings, hiring “racial sensitivity coaches,”, renaming theaters for Black artists and establish diversity rules for the Tony Awards. It also says that the pact is not legally enforceable, meaning that it is just grandstanding without substance at this point.
- It also means, though the Times doesn’t have the candor to say so, that parts of the pledge are unenforceable because they are illegal.
- But, as they sang in “The Bandwagon,” “That’s entertainment!”
- I hate to insult the business that has occupied so much of my time over the years, but there is no getting away from the fact that actors et al. as a group just aren’t very bright. This thing is more proof.
- For example, anyone who can connect the need for diversity in the theater with the deaths of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor is welcome to try. Neither died because of a lack of diversity or even because of anti-black racism. Those angry theater professionals, as is so, so often the case, literally don’t know what the hell they are talking about, but they will still shoot off their mouths with stentorian flair.
- They don’t even know what racism is, apparently, because that Unethical Quote of the Month above is racist, straight up. The fact that it was signed by directors and writers—you know, the smart ones— amply demonstrates how ignorant and hypocritical the theater world is.
- Imagine a racial quota system developed by something called “White Theater United” being signed by the same people. How many white artists are involved in the leadership of Black Theater United? As far as I can tell, none. So a group of black artists ordered Broadway directors and writers to promise never to allow an “all white creative team” to work on a show, while all-black creative teams are, presumably, considered morally and artistically beyond reproach, and the directors and writers said, “SUUURE!” Brilliant.
- I wonder how many Americans are going to be willing to spend a hundred bucks to sit in the dark and be lectured to by people with no more sense than that. I won’t.
- The pledge is 1) a quota 2) racially discriminatory, 3) hypocritical, as I said, 4) essentially requiring tokenism, and 5) a racist indictment of individuals according to their color, and nothing else.
- What’s wrong with a creative team that happens to be all-white? If no black individuals were excluded because of race, the answer is “nothing.” But if one slot on the team has to be filled by someone not originally involved in launching the project and the group says “No whites, dogs or Irish may apply,” that’s illegal, unethical, and stupid. But again: that’s entertainment!
With all the existential problems facing Broadway and live theater itself, the theater industry picked now to impugn whites, it’s primary audience, and announce its intention to discriminate against them Why? Oh, only because a career petty criminal met a brutal cop who would have killed him the same way if he had been green, and because a black woman with a series of drug dealing boyfriends got caught in the crossfire when one of them shot at officers raiding her home. One more time: Brilliant!
In the 2018-19 season, Broadway audiences were 74% white, 3.9% black, , 8.6% Asian, and 8% Hispanic. So the business decides to announce that an all Asian creative team is fine, an all black creative team is fine, an all Hispanic creative team, is fine, but those white folks—can’t trust them, the bigots. When they get together, racism follows.
It is increasingly clear that the United States is witnessing open and organized discrimination against white citizens, and sooner or later, someone with skill and a following who isn’t afraid of being called a “racist” for pointing it out will do so. The quote above can be Exhibit A.
Well, maybe Exhibit B, after Kamala Harris.